The Silicon Valley of Dreams: Environmental Injustice, Immigrant Workers, and the High-Tech Global Economy / Edition 1

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Next to the nuclear industry, the largest producer of contaminants in the air, land, and water is the electronics industry. Silicon Valley hosts the highest density of Superfund sites anywhere in the nation and leads the country in the number of temporary workers per capita and in workforce gender inequities. Silicon Valley offers a sobering illustration of environmental inequality and other problems that are increasingly linked to the globalization of the world's economies.In The Silicon Valley of Dreams, the authors take a hard look at the high-tech region of Silicon Valley to examine environmental racism within the context of immigrant patterns, labor markets, and the historical patterns of colonialism. One cannot understand Silicon Valley or the high-tech global economy in general, they contend, without also understanding the role people of color play in the labor force, working in the electronic industry's toxic environments. These toxic work environments produce chemical pollution that, in turn, disrupts the ecosystems of surrounding communities inhabited by people of color and immigrants. The authors trace the origins of this exploitation and provide a new understanding of the present-day struggles for occupational health and safety. The Silicon Valley of Dreams will be critical reading for students and scholars in ethnic studies, immigration, urban studies, gender studies, social movements, and the environment, as well as activists and policy-makers working to address the needs of workers, communities, and industry.

Author Biography: David Pellow is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Director, California Cultures in Comparative Perspective at University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Garbage Wars: Environmental Justice Struggles in Chicago, 1880-2000 and Urban Recycling and the Search for Sustainable Community. Lisa Sun-Hee Park is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies and Urban Studies and Planning at University of California, San Diego.

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Editorial Reviews

The Los Angeles Times
The irony here is the contrast between the dream and the reality of Silicon Valley. We are encouraged to regard the region as "the model for postindustrial, post-smokestack, high-technology economic development," the authors point out, and yet they assert that the Santa Clara Valley includes "the highest density of federally designated toxic Superfund sites anywhere in the nation." And, because of the area's reliance on immigrant labor, they are "front-line casualties" of what the authors call "the war on immigrants and the environment." — Jonathan Kirsch
From the Publisher
"An important contribution to the contemporary critique of high tech industry."

-Contemporary Sociology

"Offers a lot for the general reader. The authors must be congratulated."

-International Migration Review

"The Silicon Valley of Dreams . . . exposes the numerous inequities that plague the area, from the huge number of temporary workers, the highest per capita in the nation, to the obvious absence of union jobs."

-Conscious Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814767108
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 12/22/2002
  • Series: Critical America Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 303
  • Product dimensions: 6.62 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Sun-Hee Park is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of Consuming Citizenship: Children of Asian Immigrant Entrepreneurs and the co-author, with David Pellow, of The Slums of Aspen: Immigrants vs. the Environment in America's Eden and Silicon Valley of Dreams: Immigrant Labor, Environmental Injustice, and the High Tech Global Economy, also available from NYU Press.

David N. Pellowis the Dehlsen Chair of Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His teaching and research focus on environmental and ecological justice in the U.S. and globally.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Early History and the Struggle for Resources: Native Nations, Spain, Mexico, and the United States 23
3 The Valley of the Heart's Delight: Santa Clara County's Agricultural Period, 1870-1970 46
4 The Emergence of Silicon Valley: High-Tech Development and Ecocide, 1950-2001 59
5 The Political Economy of Work and Health in Silicon Valley 85
6 The Core: Work and the Struggle to Make a Living without Dying 112
7 The Periphery: Expendable People, Dangerous Work 137
8 Beyond Silicon Valley: The Social and Environmental Costs of the Global Microelectronics Industry 169
9 Toward Environmental and Social Justice in Silicon Valley, USA, and Beyond 193
10 The Broader Picture: Natural Resources, Globalization, and Increasing Inequality 215
Notes 223
References 265
Index 295
About the Authors 303
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